The effects of embalming fluid, and the alternatives

Abstract

Embalming is the process of temporarily preserving a corpse by draining the blood and fluids from the body and replacing them with a fluid/chemical solution. But is it dangerous? Well, it\'s not dangerous for the dead body.But, for the living, it\'s a different story. Modern embalming started during the American civil warIt\'s really this guy, Thomas Holmes,Who gets credit for how prevalent it still is today. To get the bodies of dead soldiers to survive the long train ride back up north. Holmes would follow the civil war from battle to battle, setting up embalming tents and claims to have embalmed over 4,000 men With his \"secret techniques\"From the civil war until about 1910, embalmers used arsenic to preserve the bodies. Some embalmers would use up to twelve pounds of arsenic to preserve a single body.The federal government had to step in and ban it because so many embalmers were dying And over a hundred years later there is still arsenic hanging around In the soil and groundwater of older cemeteries. So that was then What do embalmers use now? Embalming fluid is a mix of formaldehyde, dyes, various chemicals, and water The big issue is the marquee ingredient: formaldehyde Which is actually a gas in its pure form, depending on where the solution is going your arterial system, your body cavit, The formaldehyde concentration can be 5%, it can be 50%. It\'s colorless, strong smelling, highly flammable, and Designated a carcinogen.
Everyone from the World Health Organization To the National Cancer Institute Has said that working as an embalmer Puts you at an increased risk for developing leukemia ,also ALS, the disease that sparked the ice bucket challenge Debilitating disease for which there is no cure.Researchers Discovered a connection between men who work with formaldehyde in their jobs. Mainly funeral directors And an increased risk of developing ALS, Four times more likely to develop it. So do we need formaldehyde and preservation to shield us from the natural process of decomposition? Ground burial and cremation are two of the most common ways to go. But there’s a growing list of alternatives that are being marketed as having less of a carbon footprint.One is human composting, which just became legal in Washington State.
How much better are those alternatives for the planet?The answer is not straightforward. But here’s what the latest research tells us about the overall costs of how we lay our dead to rest.Let’s start with the most common methods.In 2017, 50% of people in the US chose cremation versus 43% who chose burial.Burials put a lot of material into the ground in the US.We\'re talking 16 million L of embalming fluid and about 47,000 m3 of wood for coffins every year. (https://pubsapp.acs.org/iapps/wld/cen/results.html?sortBy=date)By some estimates, a single cremation puts about 190 kg of carbon dioxide into the air—the equivalent of driving 470 mi in a car.Even though a single cremation emits about double the amount of CO2 as a ground burial, when Elisabeth Keijzer added up all of the 18 impact categories, she found that burial actually has more environmental impact than cremation.That’s because of land use.Land use takes into account things like the energy needed to mow cemetery lawns and the water needed to keep the grass green.Not everyone agrees about the impact of land use on burials. it all comes down to what the land was or could be used for. For instance, if instead of a cemetery, the land was used for anything else besides a forest, that would still need regular mowing and watering, it doesn’t really make a difference to the environment..
When you factor in land use, the ground burial or cremation of one person doesn’t have a huge environmental cost. But there are a lot of people out there, so anything that can cut the energy and resources needed to get us to our final resting place will benefit the planet. Which is why some people are looking for greener ways to go. One of these is a process called aquamation that is essentially a way of dissolving a body. It uses a heated bath of potassium hydroxide and water that can be safely disposed down the drain.(https://cen.acs.org/environment/Video-Cremation-burial-composting-Calculating/97/i41)
Aquamation uses a fraction of the energy of traditional cremation.It’s already used for our dearly departed pets and is legal for humans in some states.Another option is turning corpses into compost, which was recently legalized. But that leaves out a larger portion of people who want traditional funerals. So there should be available options most available, and funeral homes should be open into buying these chemicals.
The best alternative to formaldehyde, is Glutaraldehyde.Glutaraldehyde, unlike formaldehyde, is not regulated by the federal government as it relates to release and, thus, its use can eliminate some of the administrative burden associated with formaldehyde. Glutaraldehyde has not been classified as a human carcinogen by the European Union or the U.S. EPA, and has not been evaluated by IARC for carcinogenicity. Glutaraldehyde does not “release” formaldehyde and does not spontaneously break down into formaldehyde.Glutaraldehyde is a liquid and delivered as a disinfectant in aqueous solution, whereas formaldehyde is a gas phase disinfectant. As with most disinfectants, glutaraldehyde use must always be accompanied by the use of proper PPE to limit skin and respiratory exposure. Some glutaraldehyde formulations can be used with fogging equipment, again with proper PPE, and carefully following the instructions on the label.(https://www.mwiah.com/our-insights/formaldehyde-vs-glutaraldehyde)
Some of the myths perpetuated regarding glutaraldehyde are as follows: it\'s too dangerous to use in embalming rooms, it doesnít embalm anyway, it ís banned in Europe, etc.Basically these are almost too foolish to answer, but quickly ó if you think glutaraldehyde is too dangerous to use in embalming rooms, you need to first ban formaldehyde. If it doesnít embalm, then how is it the preferred aldehyde-based leather tanning agent in the U.S.. Despite both glutaraldehyde and formaldehyde having similar chemical characteristics and both being effective embalming agents, glutaraldehyde appears to have a lower overall exposure impact during embalming operations than formaldehyde. This, no doubt, derives from the much reduced volatilities of glutaraldehyde solutions compared to formaldehyde solutions and the much lower vapor pressures of glutaraldehyde in general.
Also, an important factor is the reduced concentrations and total quantities of glutaraldehyde required for effective embalming compared to formaldehyde. In the entire scheme of things, taking into consideration all factors pertaining to health, exposure, monitoring results and physio/chemical properties, glutaraldehyde is a preferred alternative to formaldehyde in typical embalming scenarios.ventilation, protective gear and standard safety precautions, can be used safely in embalming rooms. Despite both glutaraldehyde and formaldehyde having similar chemical characteristics and both being effective embalming agents, glutaraldehyde appears to have a lower overall exposure impact during embalming operations than formaldehyde. This, no doubt, derives from the much reduced volatilities of glutaraldehyde solutions compared to formaldehyde solutions and the much lower vapor pressures of glutaraldehyde in general. Also, an important factor is the reduced concentrations and total quantities of glutaraldehyde required for effective embalming compared to formaldehyde. In the entire scheme of things, taking into consideration all factors pertaining to health, exposure, monitoring results and physio/chemical properties, glutaraldehyde is a preferred alternative to formaldehyde in typical embalming scenarios.
There are a few notable differences between glutaraldehyde and formaldehyde. The most notable difference between glutaraldehyde and formaldehyde is that formaldehyde is a suspected human carcinogen, according to the ACGIH a.k.a American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists and can cause irreversible eye damage.Short Term Effects. With Glutaraldehyde, Liquid and vapor can severely irritate the eyes and at high concentrations, can burn the skin.i nhalation can cause irritation to nose, throat and respiratory tract which can cause wheezing and coughing. Now let\'s look at Formaldehyde, Liquid and vapors can irritate eyes and splashes can cause irreversible damage. Any Inhalation can cause coughing, shortness of breath, sore throat and irritation and sensitization of the respiratory tract. Lets compare the Long Term (chronic) Effects of Glutaraldehyde. May cause skin allergies, A known skin sensitizer. With Formaldehyde it May cause hypersensitivity leading to contact dermatitis, May cause vision impairment and liver enlargement, Is a suspected carcinogen, A known skin sensitizer.
Learn about your options.Go in with your eyes wide open before they\'re forever closed.
what could be simpler than putting a body in the earth?Dust to Dust might be a little more complicated.First there\'s your corpse.The formaldehyde in embalming fluid is considered in the top 10% of the Environmental Protection Agency\'smost hazardous and damaging chemicals.A known cancer cause,embalmers must wear full body protection when handling formaldehyde-based embalming fluid.